TaQuon Marshall was named as the heir to Justin Thomas just before the Chick Fil A Kick Off game last season and never let go of the starting job from their and will enter 2018 as the Jackets starting quarterback once again.
What He Did in 2017:
The seasons results does paint a complete picture of what Marshall was able to accomplish in his first year as the starting quarterback. Except to show what areas are going to need great improvement for next year.
Passing was easily the weakest part of Marshall’s game going 43-116 which is a 37.1% completion rate for ten touchdowns. He only threw five interceptions but was sacked 19 time, many of those coming in key moments. This stat is a little misleading as it seemed like every time Marshall rolled out for a pass last season he was running for his life due to sub-optimal offensive line play. If the Jackets are going to win, the offensive lines pass blocking will need to improve.
The rushing statistic is where Marshall made his money last season with the one-two punch of Benson, and Marshall gashing opponents and giving both players 1000 plus yard seasons. Marshall had a total stat line of 1,146 yards on 247 attempts for an average rush of 4.6 yards per carry. Marshall ran for 17 touchdowns and a long of 78.
Marshall led the team in carries and touchdowns last season while A-Back carries took a hit. This could be because of the before afermentioned offensive line play or because of Marshall’s lack of play time in the offense. Either way, the hope is that A-Back play will improve on Marshall’s increased experience and comfort with a full offseason as the starter.
What to Expect in 2018:
The passing category is one that always seems to be scrutinized for this offense and is frequently cited as the thing that makes the triple option predictable for defenses. Passing has also seemed to be the one weapon that Marshall did not have in his arsenal last season and the chances of drastic improvement is not likely either.
The offensive line had him running from certain doom on many pass attempts and he suffered from a bit of inaccuracy on touch passes. Marshall will have the benefit of a full offseason as the starter in 2018 and at ACC Media Days Marshall talked about how he sometimes “zoned in” on his first read and would rush out of the pocket if he wasn’t open. Hopefully, this type of film study will allow Marshall to increase his awareness and pocket presence and allow him to spread the ball out more next season and increase his passing numbers.
Marshall is going to be great on the ground next season that much you can count on. The biggest question mark for Marshall is if he will be able to overcome his demons in the passing game and increase his ability to throw the ball. With the current factors in place of an improved offensive line and a full offseason to improve my guess would be that he will.